The Romney and Obama campaigns appear to be negotiating their way to some kind truce about taxes, as Romney conceded he paid a 13 percent rate over the past 10 years, and President Barack Obama's campaign offered to drop it if he would just release five years of returns. But Romney's team is playing hardball, and looks to have snubbed the Obama camp's offer for now.
The Friday letter from Obama campaign manager Jim Messina to Romney's manager, Matt Rhoades, sounded like some kind of opening negotiation on a business deal: "If the governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more — neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign." However, Romney's camp wasn't going for it, at least not right away. Rhoades responded: "If Governor Romney’s tax returns are the core message of your campaign, there will be ample time for President Obama to discuss them over the next 81 days." The full letters are available at The Observer's Politicker page.
CNN's Mark Preston interpreted that as a flat-out refusal of Messina's offer, tweeting: "Shocker: Matt Rhoades declines @Messina2012 call for tax return release - says he'll see him in Denver. Beer summit at 1st debate?" But if you read Rhoades' letter closely it doesn't look so cut and dry. Certainly Rhoades letter doesn't welcome Messina's offer, but the language doesn't necessarily reject it either. Rather, it looks like a parry, putting the emphasis on Obama's campaigning and Romney's policies rather than Messina's offer. We still could see this truce come together and, maybe, those taxes returns come out.